It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017!

I'm re-posting my blog from many years ago as I wish all our readers Happy New Year 2017!

Since 1753 the Gregorian calendar has been in use in Finland and January 1st has been the first day of the year. Traditionally the night proceeding the first day of the year has been the time for magical tricks with the intention to open the door to the future.

Casting of tin is one of the most popular magical tricks in Finland on New Year's Eve. Everyone gets a small piece of tin (Sn) in the shape of a miniature horseshoe, which is a traditional symbol of good luck. The horseshoe is melted and the liquid metal poured quickly into a bucket of cold water, where it quickly solidifies in fantastic shapes.
The shape and shadow of the resulting cast is examined and interpreted to predict the various future events of the coming year. Different shapes have different meaning, promising good luck or health, wealth, happiness, sorrow, sickness etc. If the cast breaks down to pieces, it is a sign of "bad luck".
This tradition originates in ancient Greece. These Magical Tricks were later spread to Central Europe and today probably only used in Finland. Instead of tin also beeswax and lead (Pb) were used.

(my tin casting from the New Year's Eve prior to a BIG numbered birthday: sometimes the shape is obvious without a shadow interpretation)  

Friday, December 30, 2016

Our 2016 Graduates

(Echeveria secunda - graphite by Charlotte Ricker)

In 2016 thirteen students (Mary Barnes, Lisa Bird, Kristi Czajkowski, Mary Dee Francis, Deanna Gammon, Sally Grew, Cathleen Harrington, Anne-Marie T. Nishi, Kirk R. Peffer, Charlotte Ricker, Claire Dellinger Shive, Susan Willis, Annette Woodward) received their Foundational Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the School of Botanical Art and Illustration at Denver Botanic Gardens. 

Each portfolio included five plates: graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolor and artist choice - they are all presented here (You can also access the page from the right hand column).

(Tragopogon porrifolius - colored pencil by Deanna Gammon)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays 2017 to All Our Readers!

(Callicarpa americana and Malvadiscus arboreus, Mary Burns, watercolor)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Botanical Illustration 2016 Scholarship Recipients

We are happy to announce the recipients for the 2016 School of Botanical Art and Illustration Scholarships:

1. Elsa Kern-Lovick

 (Ospreys, Elsa Kern-Lovick, graphite)
Elsa's passion is natural history illustration and she loves recreating and interpreting plants, animals, and natural processes. She has mostly focused on ornithology, but is seeking to gain and hone skills in botanical illustration because of plants’ important presence in our environment and on our plates, and because of their intricacy of morphology and diversity of function. 
Elsa has a degree in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and wants to use her skills as botanical illustrator to promote sustainable agriculture and pursue illustrating field guides, scientific publications, and media. She lives in Bar Harbor, Maine.

2. Eileen Richardson
(grape leaves, Eileen Richardson, ink)
Eileen examines natural patterns and the origins of biomimicry in her illustrations. She wants to refine her skills in botanical illustration because it bridges the worlds of science and art. She hopes to be able to use the botanical illustration to fuel social movements, especially environmental conservation and preservation. 
Eileen has a BFA from Emmerson College and chef's degree from NTA's Natural Foods Program. She is currently heavily involved with the Rocky Mountain Land Library
To see more examples of the recipients' work, please click here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

EDIBLE until February 12, 2017

(Meredith Feniak, watercolor)
This juried Exhibition from the Gardens' School of Botanical Art and Illustration showcases edible plants and highlights both those that are commonly eaten and those that may appear less familiar on the dinner table.
To see all the art pieces included in the exhibit, please click here, you can also find the gadget for this exhibit in the right hand column.
(Winter Soup, Susan Curnutte, watercolor)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Registration starts tomorrow, December 13th, 9 a.m.!

(Chris Ruch, watercolor)
Tomorrow, December 13th, 9 a.m. you can sign up for 2017 Winter/Spring Botanical Illustration courses at Denver Botanic Gardens. You can find the downloadable course catalog by clicking here.
Follow this link to online registration. 
Please Note: Winter/Spring 2017 courses appear until to the end of December 12th as sold out. All classes are off-line between 00.01 a.m. and 9 a.m. tomorrow, December 13th. They reappear tomorrow, December 13th at 9 a.m. (MST) and are open for registration.

(Charlotte Ricker, watercolor pencil, colored pencil, gouache)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Potions, Poisons and Panaceas

This fall the School of Botanical Art and Illustration joined with the Art Gallery at the Fulginity Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus (University of Colorado) to produce an exhibition of contemporary botanical illustrations entitled Poisons, Potions and Panaceas, featuring plants with medicinal properties.
You can see the exhibit including the outstanding interpretation on-line by clicking here, you can also find an icon to the exhibit on the right hand column.

This exhibition - Potions, Poisons and Panaceas - highlights both the medical and pharmaceutical properties of certain plants, revives our sense of awe when confronted by the beauty and mystery of nature, as well as it introduces us to an art-form that - though it retains many of its characteristic historical qualities - has evolved and incorporated many aspects and assumptions of modernity.
Simon Zalkind, Curator of Exhibitions
Fulginity Center for Bioethics and Humanities

Historical Ties between Botanical Illustration and Medicine
The origins of botanical illustration and the science of botany progressed alongside the history of medicine, especially pharmacology, in ancient Greece. In the 4th century BCE, Diokles of Carystus compiled the earliest known herbal, a medicinal reference manual for botanical study and plant identification. This work, and so many of its successors, have not survived. Although we do not know about the quality and accuracy of these illustrations, we do know that very early on, the Greek herbalists realized the power of the image.
The period of exploration and discovery in the 18th and 19th centuries is said to be the golden age of botanical and nature illustration. Thousands of plates and sketches were produced by skilled naturalists while exploring unknown parts of the world. Today an estimated 391,000 plant species are known for science of which nearly 21,000 have a documented usage in medicine. The documentation work is ongoing even today, and the search for new species continues.
The botanical illustrations that accompany scholarly works have a clear purpose of species identification with the artist acting as the hand and eye of the researcher. Botanical illustration, like any scientific illustration, requires accuracy, realism and objectivity, as opposed to emotion and sensitivity that is often found in other art fields. The illustrator’s ability to observe and accurately record details has proven to be superior to the detail found in a photograph.

Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Manager of the School of Botanical Art & Illustration
(Image: Susan Curnutte, watercolor and graphite)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Focus on Nature XIV (December 3, 2016 - April 9, 2017)

(click the image to download the exhibit catalog, pdf 8.6 MB)

Focus on Nature is a juried biennial exhibit for natural and cultural history illustrators at the New York State Museum in Jamestown, NY and opens for public tomorrow December 3rd.
This time 65 artists around the world were selected to exhibit, among those are two of our instructors, Randy Raak and Susan Rubin. From our Colorado community also Dorothy DePaulo, Tiffany Miller Russel and Heidi Snyder are represented in the exhibit as well as our 2016 artist-in-resident Lauren Bassing.

On the left Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelio decaocto) by Randy Raak and to the right Mountain Golden Banner, High Altitude Bee (Thermopsis montana, Bombus balteatus) by Susan Rubin